There will inevitably be times in our Christian journey that we get discouraged, frustrated, and upset. The circumstances of life will hit so hard that we feel like giving up, and throwing in the towel on our faith.
Situations may cause us to forget about all the things that God has already done in our lives, what He has already brought us through, and the fact that He promises to continue to take care of us.
This is why, in those tough seasons, it becomes very important to pause and look back on our own story – our personal testimony. For its when we reflect on the goodness of God in our lives that we find the strength we need to keep pushing forward.
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- What is a Personal Testimony?
- The Power of Your Personal Testimony
- Personal Testimony Examples in the Bible
- When You Forget Your Personal Testimony
- Reflect on Your Personal Testimony Regularly
What is a Personal Testimony?
In case you have heard different terms used, let me start by noting that, in the Christian arena, personal testimonies are often referenced as follows:
- personal testimony of salvation
- life testimony
- personal Christian testimony
Regardless of the terminology used, a personal testimony is the story of how you became a Christian, and what God has done in your life since then. It is sharing about your relationship with Jesus Christ, and the influence he has had on your life.
A personal testimony typically has 3 parts: what life looked like for you before Christ, how you came to know Christ, and what life in Christ has looked like for you since then.
Regardless of what the story is, EVERY Christian has a personal testimony.
The Power of Your Personal Testimony
In the Old Testament, the work of God was visibly evident as he appeared to His people, spoke directly to them, and performed wondrous acts directly before them (His command to Noah to build the ark, His covenant with Abraham, speaking to Moses from the burning bush, speaking to the judges and kings, delivering His Word through His prophets, sending fire from heaven at Elijah’s request, etc.).
In the New Testament, all throughout his earthly ministry Jesus performed countless miracles, signs, and wonders before the eyes of man (turning water into wine, causing the blind to see, healing the sick, raising the dead, etc.).
After Christ died, resurrected, ascended back into heaven, he gave all believers the gift of the Holy Spirit, who now lives in us. So, we are now the walking, talking, breathing testimonies of God and demonstrations of His power!
Let’s look at three key ways in which your personal testimony is powerful, and how it benefits others.
It is a Great Tool to Share Your Faith With UnBelievers
It’s one thing to tell people about how great God is and reference all the amazing stories of the bible. However, it’s quite another thing to tell them a real-life story about the power of God that you have experienced in your own life.
People in general tend to be more open to authentic, personal stories of faith than to mere teachings and ideas about the faith.
The story of how God turned your life around from being a drug addict, an alcoholic, a person who was full of anger all the time, or a person who was often depressed and attempted suicide, can touch hearts in a way that will lead people to want to know the God we serve!
We should always be ready and willing to share our personal testimony.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.Romans 1:16 NIV
Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done.Psalm 105:1
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.1 Peter 3:15
NOTE: Don’t ever compare your testimony to someone else’s and start to think that your story is too basic, or not dramatic enough. There is no need to embellish or inflate your testimony. It could even be a short personal testimony, as simple as “once I was lost, but now I am found”. God transforming a heart to serve Him is always impactful, regardless of how He brought you into His family.
It Encourages Other Christians in Their Faith
Sometimes our personal testimony helps to encourage other Christians.
They may be at a point in their Christian journey where they are struggling in a certain area, or starting to doubt or lose faith in God. Hearing testimonies from others who have gone through similar situations, or have overcome doubt can make all the difference in helping point them back to God, and be encouraged to continue on in the faith.
Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me. (Psalm 66:16)Psalm 66:16
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.1 Thessalonians 5:11
And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.1 Thessalonians 5:14
It Keeps You Encouraged in Your Faith
Reflecting on your own personal testimony can keep you encouraged as you face the daily difficulties of life. We all have our tough moments, or bad days, or even bad weeks. But, looking back can give us strength, and remind us of who God is and what He can do in our lives.
Whether you’re dealing with a co-worker who seems to want to make your life miserable, an ex- who will do anything to get you out of your Christian character, a home situation that just keeps getting worse and worse, a debt that you just can’t seem to pay off, that temptation that keeps causing you to stumble in your walk with God, a child having problems at school, or the nervous breakdowns you seem to have every other day…..just remember who God is, what He has done, and what He has promised in His Word.
I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.Psalm 143:5
Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.Ephesians 2:12-13
God has said, never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.Hebrews 13:5-6
Personal Testimony Examples in the Bible
When I think of people from the bible who often reflected back on their testimonies in times of distress, the main two that come to mind are King David and the Apostle Paul.
David was known as “the man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22). He is the one king of Israel whom all others got compared to, and was often referenced by God himself as an example of obedience.
David was in no way perfect, but in all he did he agreed with God, and sought to serve Him diligently. What I love about him are the various Psalms he wrote that express his emotions, and how he was feeling at both happy and difficult times during his reign.
From going up against Goliath, to spending several years on the run from King Saul who wanted him killed, to his sin with Bathsheba, to dealing with family rivalry amongst his sons, David had a very challenging life with many ups and downs. But during his toughest times he often reflected on God, what He had done in His life, and His promises:
- Keep me free from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, Lord, my faithful God. (Psalm 31:4-5)
- Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. (Psalm 37:7)
- I cry out to God Most High, to God, who vindicates me. He sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me—God sends forth his love and his faithfulness. (Psalm 57:2-3)
- When we were overwhelmed by sins, you forgave our transgressions. Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts! We are filled with the good things of your house, of your holy temple. (Psalm 65: 3-4)
- I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. (Psalm 145:1-2)
My two favorite Psalms written by David are chapters 23 and 34. Both are great for reading and meditating on when you feel like life is really hitting you hard.
The Apostle Paul
Paul was a Jewish Roman citizen who had a vast amount of religious training, and great zeal for God’s law. However, he was fully dedicated to stopping the early spread of Christianity. In fact, after the stoning of Stephen (the first Christian martyr), Paul leads the first great wave of persecution against the early church, with the mission to remove any Christian influence from the synagogues of that time.
It’s not until he has a direct encounter with God on the road to Damascus, that Paul repents and is converted (Acts 9). The same zeal and dedication he had against Christianity transforms into a laser-focused quest to spread the gospel of Jesus worldwide.
His 35-year ministry, includes several miracles he performed, five evangelistic journeys where he visits more than 50 cities, the establishment of several first century churches to whom he wrote letters of wisdom, instruction, and encouragement (the bulk of the New Testament), and the training of other evangelists and preachers.
But, just like David, Paul’s Christian journey was not all sunshine and rainbows. He himself testifies of the many sufferings he endured for the name of Christ in his letter to the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 11: 16-31), which included: being severely flogged, imprisoned several times, beaten with rods, pelted with stones, and being shipwrecked on three different occasions.
His ministry required him to be constantly on the move, as he was always in danger from those pursuing his life. He often went without sleep, food or water, and sometimes even clothes!
But, through it all, Paul kept his focus and mindset on who God was, what He had already done, and what He knew He could do. This is why in the midst of it all he could write such encouraging and uplifting words like these:
- And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. (Acts 20:22-24)
- Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:35-37)
- But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
- Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)
- I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)
WOW! I don’t know about you, but I’m praying to get to Paul’s level where I can embrace life’s hardships with such a godly mindset.
When You Forget Your Personal Testimony
I’m not sure of the exact number of times in the Old Testament that God had to remind His people, the Israelites, about the things he had done in their lives, and the promises He had made to them. However, I know it was a constant theme:
- Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore, the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day. (Deuteronomy 5:15)
- Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled. (Joshua 21:45)
- Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced, you his servants, the descendants of Israel, his chosen ones, the children of Jacob. He is the Lord our God; his judgments are in all the earth. (1 Chronicles 16:12-14)
- Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. (Isaiah 46:9)
- Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel. (Malachi 4:4)
The problem was that the Israelites were constantly forgetting God, His goodness, and His laws. The moment circumstances got a bit shaky, or difficult situations arose they were quick to consult other spiritual mediums, try to fix things on their own, or resort to adapting methods that their unsaved counterparts were utilizing that God had forbidden.
But here’s the kicker – they didn’t just forget God in bad times. They also forgot Him when things were going well in their lives, and when they were prosperous:
- No sooner had Gideon died than the Israelites again prostituted themselves to the Baals. They set up Baal-Berith as their god and did not remember the Lord their God, who had rescued them from the hands of all their enemies on every side. (Judges 8:33-34)
- Again and again they put God to the test; they vexed the Holy One of Israel. They did not remember his power—the day he redeemed them from the oppressor. (Psalm 78:41-42)
- You have forgotten God your Savior; you have not remembered the Rock, your fortress. (Isaiah 17:10)
The fact of the matter is, God had to remind the Israelites countless of times despite what circumstances they found themselves in – slavery in Egypt, the challenges of the wilderness, prosperity in the promised land, or captivity in Assyria and Babylon. Whether they were enslaved, challenged, blessed, or oppressed they forgot about God.
…and WE often react the same way.
The thing about forgetting God, and forgetting your personal testimony of what God has done is that it can have dire consequences that can sometimes even make your circumstances worse. When we forget, our knee-jerk reaction is often to worry, be fearful, get anxious, doubt God, franticly seek for help in everything and everyone but God, and fall into sin.
When we experience a period of heartache, trial or tribulations, we complain and groan against God, acting as if we know better than Him. When we experience comfort, wealth, health and success we become arrogant and prideful, acting as if it was due to our own efforts, and not by the grace of God. In either case we fail to acknowledge how God has providentially orchestrated all things in our lives.
Reflect on Your Personal Testimony Regularly
Ladies, it is so important that no matter what is going on in our lives, on both the best and worst of days, that we learn to look to God, embrace His Word, and reflect on our personal testimony as a reminder of who He is and what He can do. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
There is no such thing as a super Christian. Just like our stubborn brothers and sisters of the Old Testament, we need constant, daily reminders of the God we serve, our identity in Christ, what He has done, and God’s promises of what He can and will do in our lives.
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.Lamentations 3:22-23
I know what my personal testimony is. But, what is your personal testimony? Have you ever taken the time to actually write it down?
I personally enjoy writing and have kept several journals over the years. And let me tell you, it is extremely helpful. Not only does it force you to pause and think back on the goodness of God, but as time passes, it gives you something to refer back to, that reminds you of how good God has been and what He has brought you through.
Sometimes, I look back at journals from when I was in college, and it edifies and encourages me, because of the growth I see from the person I was then, to who God has molded me into today.
I have had and witnessed my share of unfortunate circumstances, but one thing I know for sure, is that if God had not been with me through it all, I wouldn’t have made it this far.
Remember, YOU made it this far because of God! And you will continue to live through today, tomorrow, the next day, and the day after that. God has so much more in store for you, as long as, you keep trusting Him!
In all areas of life, remember God and His Word. Talk about Him, and share Him with others. Reflect on His goodness regularly, as it is vital to your spiritual health and well being.
I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.” Your ways, God, are holy. What god is as great as our God? You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples.Psalm 77:11-14
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